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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2553 ..



more and more out of the poker machines through clubs in particular and, as a city, becoming more and more dependent on this form of revenue. We could raise more revenue but I suspect we would probably end up spending more of the income ameliorating the impacts that gambling has in the community.

If it is appropriate and sustainable to tax poker machine revenue then perhaps we should, but I think there is a bigger question here. The previous government had a poverty report and the current government has been given a poverty update. I think there is a large amount of angst in the community about gambling across the board and I think now may be the appropriate time to look at whether we should go about somehow reducing the impacts of gambling rather than, as a jurisdiction, becoming more and more indebted to gamblers.

We already know that large amounts of gambling revenue come from a very small percentage of the population. Clubs ACT in particular is doing its bit to reduce the impact of problem gambling, but there still is problem gambling in the ACT. This is a dilemma because we as a jurisdiction are becoming more and more addicted to this substantial amount of money that goes up every year. Governments are tied to this problem financially and it therefore gets harder and harder for them to disassociate themselves from this source of revenue.

So I would have some huge concerns about what we are doing here today. I do not believe we have to follow the route of the other states, particularly New South Wales and, indeed, Victoria, which has a huge dependence on gambling. That is why the amendment that I will move seeks to remove clause 3 of the bill-the part that allows for the percentage to be raised from 25 to 27 per cent.


(11.57): This bill increases revenue in a number of ways. It removes the corporate concession which applies to corporate reconstruction, and we are supportive of that. Also, it introduces a loan security duty on advances of $1 million or more, which will earn about $0.5 million per year. But will this actually contribute to loan security? The ACT and the Northern Territory had been the only Australian jurisdictions not to charge duty on secured loans. This is a modest introduction, with the ACT's rate coming in at half the rate of Victoria-currently the lowest and with a higher threshold.

The other aspect of this legislation is the increase in gambling tax. I listened to Mr Smyth with some amazement, considering that yesterday we had the opportunity to do something fairly concrete about empowering the Gambling and Racing Commission to take into account the social impact of poker machines on premises. Of course, community sporting facilities are now totally coopted by the gambling industry. Interestingly, yesterday only Ms Dundas cared about the gambling impacts, and now we have Mr Smyth insisting that the Liberals are right in there on this.

The problem, of course, is that this is about Commonwealth grants. It is outrageous that the Commonwealth has also shown itself to be entirely inconsistent in that it claims to understand the impact of gambling on the Australian society only when it suits them. The Commonwealth is attempting to force states and territories into increasing government taxes, and that inherently means there is a greater reliance on that source of revenue which, as I said yesterday and have said so many times in this place, is a very easy tax

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